Weber Weekly Word: Wildcats ready for Big Sky Tournament

Weber Weekly Word: Wildcats ready for Big Sky Tournament

by Brayden Evensen

The Weber State men’s basketball team played their final regular season game against in-state rival Southern Utah on Saturday, March 5, 2022. The game was a rematch as the Wildcats beat Southern Utah 92-84 on January 24, 2022.

Mixed Results for Men’s Basketball to close Regular Season

With it being the regular season finale, the Wildcats were looking to build positive momentum for the Big Sky Conference Tournament. The first half was a back and forth affair, and neither team was able to pull ahead. The Wildcats went into halftime with a narrow 33-32 lead.

The two teams stayed close throughout much of the second half, but Southern Utah heated up from three-point range. The Wildcats had trouble stopping the barrage. Every time the Wildcats inched closer, Southern Utah made a three. It all but ended the regular season on a sour note.

In the end, the Wildcats couldn’t make enough plays, and they ended up falling to their in-state rivals by a final score of 80-70. Despite the loss, JJ Overton led the Wildcats with 23 points. Koby McEwen and Seikou Sisoho Jawara each added 17 and 11 points for the Wildcats, respectively.

“We didn’t play good enough basketball to win tonight,” Coach Randy Rahe said. “It didn’t really matter who we played tonight. We weren’t going to win playing that kind of basketball. Offensively, we didn’t move the ball like we had been. I thought our shot selection was way off. Defensively, I didn’t think we had that grit and fight that we had in practice.”

The Wildcats will look to rebound with the Big Sky Tournament starting this week. The Wildcats had high hopes entering this season, and the team still believes that it can finish the season strong.

Women’s Basketball Finishes Season Strong

Despite some recent hard fought losses, the Weber State Women’s Basketball team played their final regular season game on the road against Southern Utah on Friday, March 4, 2022. The game was a rematch as the Wildcats dropped an 85-75 overtime heartbreaker to Southern Utah on January 24, 2022.

This game was similar to other games over the course of the season. The Wildcats fell behind early but mounted a comeback, only to fall short again. In the end, the Wildcats couldn’t muster enough plays to pick up the win, and they ended up falling to Southern Utah by a final score of 75-65. Despite the loss, Daryn Hickok led the Wildcats with 18 points. Jadyn Matthews and Emma Torbert each added 12 and nine points respectively for the Wildcats. With the loss, the Wildcats’ overall record dropped to 10-19 and 6-14 in the Big Sky Conference.

It was a rough end to the season for the Wildcats, and the last game showed a troubling trend for the Wildcats of falling behind early and not being able to come all the way back. Despite this happening in many of the Wildcat’s losses this season, the team has not lost hope. The Wildcats will look to rebound with the Big Sky Conference Tournament starting this week.

Big Sky Tournament Preview

Despite both the Weber State men’s and Women’s teams losing their final games of the regular season to their in-state rival Southern Utah, all hope is not lost. As some would say, the beginning of “March Madness”, or as more commonly known, the start of the Big Sky Conference Tournaments. There is a lot on the line for both teams, aside from the obvious task of whichever team wins the tournament gets an automatic berth into “March Madness/the NCAA tournament. Add in the fact that both teams are looking for a “reset”, and to reach their full potential.

“We’ve got to come back Monday and play better basketball,” Coach Rahe said. “I don’t care who we play in the tournament. When we play, we need to figure out how to go back to playing really good basketball. We did it last Saturday, and we didn’t tonight. Motivation, whatever, no — we need to have a really good practice Monday and see if we can’t get back to playing the way we need to play. That’s all I’m concerned about. We’ve got to go play good basketball and figure out how to go beat somebody.”

The Wildcat men’s team looked for that reset in the first round against Montana on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats beat Montana which was nothing new. They came out on top at home this season and dropped a narrow decision on the road. They now face the tougher of the Montana teams as they face the Montana State Bobcats this evening.

It has not been an easy season for the Weber State Women’s Basketball team. They dropped a game to Montana State in the quarterfinals by a score of 60-81. Most of their losses have been there for the taking, but the Wildcats haven’t been able to finish the job on multiple occasions this season.

For both the men’s and women’s teams, the start of the Big Sky Conference tournament has been chance at redemption for both teams. It is a chance to claim the biggest prize of all: a ticket to play in March Madness.

Featured image courtesy Brooks Nuanez, Big Sky Conference

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